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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University January 16, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 17
CTY Launches Math, Science Site for Gifted Pre-College Students

The Web site offers news, interviews with both young and experienced scientists, information about programs and even books and movies of interest.

By Kristi Birch
Center for Talented Youth

To meet the challenges of the 21st century, the world needs exceptional thinkers in mathematics and the sciences. To help nurture those future leaders, Johns Hopkins' Center for Talented Youth, along with eight partner organizations, has launched, a Web site designed to help gifted pre-college students develop their talents and interests in these fields. Cogito means "I think" and was taken from the Latin Cogito, ergo sum, which means "I think, therefore I am."

The Web site connects these students with peers from around the world who share a passion for math and science, and with professionals already working in the sciences. "Through the power of the Internet, Cogito can bridge geographic and cultural boundaries," said Lea Ybarra, executive director of CTY. "A student in China can share math problems with a student in Chicago, or a group of middle school students can interview a nanotechnologist."

Cogito is loaded with inspiring content for and about young scientists, including interviews with experts; profiles of young scientists; science news; Web resources; and searchable directories of summer programs, competitions and other academic opportunities.

While most of Cogito's content is available to the public, members have access to interactive features, including discussion forums where they are currently talking online with a young environmental scientist at the McMurdo station in Antarctica, a roboticist from Carnegie Mellon and an astronomer looking for life on other planets. Membership is by invitation to students around the world nominated by CTY and other organizations and by individuals who work with gifted students.

Nina Vasan, a Cogito advisory board member and winner of the 2002 Intel Foundation Young Scientist Award, said, "Cogito is a dream come true for today's young scientists. I would have been addicted to a site like this. Seeing everything that it has to offer makes me wish I could go back in time and redo high school with the help of Cogito!"

Vasan, along with five other math and science competition winners, recently hosted a Cogito discussion forum about doing serious research as a high school student. The success of Cogito depends on exactly this sort of participation by scientists and mathematicians, from college students to retired professionals, to serve as guest speakers, resident experts and site advisers.

Said Ybarra, "Along with the benefits the site holds for young people, we think this is a wonderful opportunity for members of the Hopkins community to engage directly with budding young scientists and mathematicians around the world. We hope they will want to get involved."

Cogito was developed by CTY in partnership with other leading centers serving gifted students, based at Carnegie Mellon, Duke and Northwestern universities; the universities of Denver and Iowa; the Center for Excellence in Education; the Davidson Institute for Talent Development; and Science Service. The John Templeton Foundation provided initial funding for its development.

Anyone interested in contributing to is asked to contact Carol Blackburn at To take a look at the site, go to


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